Nature Canada

The protection of threatened carbon-rich ecosystems has the biggest impact in the battle against climate change. Once an area is degraded or destroyed, it is costly and sometimes impossible to restore it back to its original state.

The government of Canada has made an unprecedented commitment to protecting 25% of Canada’s land and oceans by 2025, and  30% protection by 2030. These promises will be extremely important for the protection of biodiversity, and for stabilizing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Through targeted protection, it’s possible to identify and safeguard Canadian landscapes that store significant amounts of carbon. Protecting these spaces in perpetuity will ensure that these landscapes are not destroyed and the carbon stored within them is not released into the atmosphere. 

There are many ways that municipalities and local organizations can work to protect areas within their jurisdiction as a nature-based climate solution:

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1. Targeted Protection

The process of using biodiversity and climate data to identifying and enacting new protected areas.

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2. Carbon Offset-funded Projects

Safeguard natural carbon stores through emission compensation.

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3. Land Use Planning

Land-use planning policies can help protect areas that have high carbon sequestration value and biodiversity.

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Targeted Protection

Targeted protection is the process of using biodiversity and climate data to identify and enact new protected areas. Key actions include the greater protection of biodiverse and carbon-rich areas, including moratoria on: 

  • Harvesting remaining carbon-dense old-growth forests
  • Conversion of natural grasslands to other uses
  • Destruction of remaining eelgrass meadows and saltmarshes on all three coasts
  • Drainage of peatlands for industrial activities

Increased resourcing of Indigenous leadership in conservation and protection (e.g. Indigenous Protection and Conservation Areas, Guardian program) is needed. While community-based land protection initiatives are expanding.

Targeted Protection

Targeted protection is the process of using biodiversity and climate data to identify and enact new protected areas. Key actions include the greater protection of biodiverse and carbon-rich areas, including moratoria on: 

  • Harvesting remaining carbon-dense old-growth forests
  • Conversion of natural grasslands to other uses
  • Destruction of remaining eelgrass meadows and saltmarshes on all three coasts
  • Drainage of peatlands for industrial activities.

Increased resourcing of Indigenous leadership in conservation and protection (e.g. Indigenous Protection and Conservation Areas, Guardian program) is needed. While community-based land protection initiatives are expanding.

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Carbon offset-funded projects

Carbon offset projects safeguard natural carbon stores through compensation for emissions from an activity being undertaken somewhere else. They can be a good way to secure funding for the protection of areas that are of high-carbon value. 

It’s important to ensure that these projects fund additional protection of landscapes that otherwise would not have happened and that they do not replace the obligations of emitters to also reduce GHGs. 

Land use planning

Municipalities can protect areas that have high carbon sequestration and biodiversity value through land-use planning policies that reject the development of sensitive areas.

Although formal protection through provincial or federal policy is preferable in order to ensure these areas will be protected in perpetuity, land-use planning offers a good solution that is within municipal control.

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Land use planning

Municipalities can protect areas that have high carbon sequestration and biodiversity value through land-use planning policies that reject the development of sensitive areas.

Although formal protection through provincial or federal policy is preferable in order to ensure these areas will be protected in perpetuity, land-use planning offers a good solution that is within municipal control.

Examples

Taking Action in Canada

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Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.

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